“Best Agricultural Practice” tries to optimize the related segments of the product chain. This try builds up a huge amount of existing and site appropriate management guidelines that call for best practices.
The methods of land use which can best achieve the objectives of agronomic and environmental sustainability under specific conditions are perceived as suitable agricultural practice for that location. They can often be generalized on the basis of regional ecological homogeneity or cultural specifics. They are then elaborated as “Codes of Conduct” or “Codes of Practice”.
“Codes of Practice” are outlining the responsibilities of or guidelines for an individual or organization, such as a set of principles of corporate behaviour adopted by a business.
Codes of practice provide practical guidance and detailed advice on how to achieve a desired standard. Codes of practice are developed through consultation with representatives from industry, workers and employers, special interest groups and government agencies.
If the code of practice of an agricultural company includes the aspect of self-reflection and permanent improvement the link between GAP and BAP is well scheduled.
Several of these codes are already designed by producer organizations (e.g. COLEACP), importers and retailers consortia (e.g. BRC, FPC, GlobalGap) and Government bodies representing consumers (e.g. UK Food Standards Agency; German BMELV). Many supermarkets have in addition their own codes of practice which their suppliers must satisfy. American retailers use a different standard called SQF 2000, which is based on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP).
The European Retailers Group (GlobalGap) is attempting to consolidate the agronomic and environmental components of all these codes into one universal set of rules or guidelines under the name GlobalGAP (= Global Good Agricultural Practice). This is intended to present a clear message to suppliers and reduce the confusion that flows from the current multiplicity of codes. The GlobalGap website sets out the rules and procedures which growers or traders must comply with in order to qualify for GlobalGAP certification. COLEACP and others are also trying to develop a harmonised framework taking the important parts of each code of practice (CAC, 2001).
Other existing Codes of practice are concepts of Good Farming Practice (GFP), Good Plant Protection Practice (GPP, Burth & Freier, 1996, 1999), Integrated Farming Systems (, Integrated Agriculture, Integrated Plant Protection (IPP, Burth et al, 2002), Integrated Crop Management (ICM; Agra CEAS, 2002) and Integrated Pest Management (IPM, Bajwa & Kogan, 2004; www.epa.gov/ pesticides/factsheets/ ipm.htm), guidelines for e.g. zero-tillage production (www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/crops/ weeds/), agro-ecological practices, permaculture, organic agriculture, bio-intensive farming, holistic management (FAL, 2003), and practices that improve agricultural biodiversity, address workers rights, access to resources, optimizing the use of locally available resources by combining different components of the farm system; reducing the use of off-farm, external, non-renewable inputs; improving the match between cropping patterns and productive potential, working to value, conserve biological diversity, taking full advantage of local knowledge and much more aspects (EC, 1991, 2000a, 2000b).
All stakeholders of agricultural practices established these Codes of Practice for guarantying GAPs and improvements of BAPs.